The Extraordinary Library

100 picture books selected by Bologna Children’s Book Fair for Pitti Immagine Bimbo

The 2017 edition of Pitti Immagine Bimbo saw the inauguration of a special initiative curated by BCBF and  dedicated to fashion and its icons: The Extraordinary Library: Fashion and its Icons, an exhibition of 100 illustrated books for children dedicated to fashion and style. After Florence, the city of Rimini becomes the first official stop of the journey for this beautiful selection, hosted at the Galleria Dell'Immagine - Biblioteca Gambalunga. After the first edition, the exhibition becomes a successful format which is renewed and refreshed each year with unique content.

The project then continued in 2018, with the creation of The Extraordinary Library 2: Cinema and Entertainment, a selection of 100 illustrated books focused this time on the magic of the show and stage, with many stunning titles devoted to cinema, theatre, ballet, opera, acrobatic arts and circuses, demonstrating that children’s publishing has no boundaries or limits. In the days of BCBF 2018, the exhibition was hosted by the Fondazione Cineteca of Bologna and by the National Cinema Museum of Turin during the Salone Internazionale del Libro.

On the occasion of the winter edition of Pitti Bimbo 2019, the project focused on titles conceived and designed for one to three years olds with The Extraordinary Library 3: Toddler Books which offered an exclusive look of what’s new on the international publishing scene for very young readers.
2019 saw the launch of a further edition of the bibliographic project during the Turin International Book Fair and Pitti Bimbo summer edition (20 -22 June): The Extraordinary Library - HERSTORY collected for the occasion 200 international titles for children dedicated to women. Not "HIStory" but "HERstory", a female story made up of women who live, work, produce, rule, have marked the taste of many eras, done scientific research. Books about women's stories, books written by women, books illustrated and published by women.

During Pitti Bimbo 2020 (16-18 January), the 100 excellent international picture books selected by Bologna Children’s Book Fair created the 5th Extraordinary Library - Flags! The Power of Imagination. Magical, symbolic drapes, belonging declarations, flags that speak of communities reaching beyond their borders, flags that defend rights, narrate and invent splendid worlds. Coloured flags – sewn together, worn, held on high, standards or magic carpets - flags proclaiming peace, pirate flags and flags announcing action and thought, flags devoted to urgent issues and new identities, opening up new horizons with new stories.
This exhibition is not just about geographical and political world’s flags, a subject much loved by children, encyclopaedias and classifiers. It is a journey through books that can be seen as symbols of children’s right to books, peace, inclusion, diversity, and environmental safeguard – characters that have become icons for all times of the right to self-determination and imagination. The Extraordinary Library project goes on to encourage and support meaningful exchange between children’s publishing and childrenswear: two realms under continuous development that both narrate and empower the world of the child.

Curated by Giannino Stoppani Cooperativa Culturale/Accademia Drosselmeier and Marcella Terrusi, these special collections allowed the public to enjoy new perspectives and discover the extraordinary quality of international children’s publishing, as well as its endless diversity. 

A selection of The Extraordinary Library 5 - Flags! The Power of Imagination (2020)